Monday, October 30, 2006

SERIOUSLY TIME for a CHANGE

In August, my opponent, Rep. Brad Sherman made a public promise to many constituents that he would debate me.  He lied.

For weeks, Mr. Sherman has skipped candidate forums in the district, and ignored requests by my campaign staff to schedule an event: any time, any place. Most recently, he refused to even respond to a formal proposal that called for the San Fernando Sun newspaper to moderate a debate in the northeast San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.

I was especially looking forward to meeting Mr. Sherman in the northeast Valley because it is an area that he publicly fought to exclude from his district, one he has utterly ignored since it was forced upon him after congressional lines were redrawn in late 2001.

In published reports in the Los Angeles Times from 2001, prominent Democrats chastised Mr. Sherman and implied that his opposition was potentially racially motivated:

     “[Sherman] has made himself irrelevant,’ said State Sen. Don Perata (D-Alameda), the chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee. ‘He would like to have sort of a white-bread district and is having a real hard time understanding that the population of California is changing, particularly in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.’ He called Sherman, ‘as self-serving as anybody I’ve met.’
     (“Neighboring LA Democrats Trade Barbs Over Redistricting,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2001)

     “[State Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar)] also said Sherman has ‘fought vehemently and publicly to reduce the number of Latinos in his district. There are some fences that need to be mended. He needs to let the Latino community know that he supports them as a community.’
     (“Remapping Plan Fails To Appease Latinos,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2001)

Now, I absolutely reject the notion that Brad Sherman is a racist—I simply do not believe it. But Brad Sherman is a politician. He sees people in this district as voter registration statistics, not constituents, and has done so for the last four years.

I have no doubt that he fears his act will not play as well in the Northeast Valley as it does in upscale Sherman Oaks, where he has a home. That said, his decision to simply ignore the Northeast Valley for years is infuriating, and it makes no sense, political or otherwise.

My partner in life happens to be Latino—first generation American, in fact.  When elected, I will represent everyone in this District...regardless of where they live, or their political party affiliation.  It's seriously time for a change.

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